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Kindergarten boss appeals penalty for deadly bus accident

(Xinhua)

08:53, July 24, 2012

LANZHOU, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The board chairman of a privately-run kindergarten in northwest China's Gansu Province has appealed a seven-year jail term handed down by a local court last week, saying he was not to be blame for a school bus crash that killed 22 people last year.

Li Jungang, board chairman of the Little Doctor Kindergarten in Zhengning county in the city of Qingyang and owner of the ill-fated school bus, was sentenced to seven years in jail Friday by the Zhengning county people's court.

The court verdict said Li was convicted of a traffic-related crime.

Li appealed against the ruling Monday to the Intermediate People's Court of Qingyang, insisting on his innocence.

Twenty-two people, including 20 preschoolers and two adults, died when the school bus, a nine-seat van that was illegally converted to fit 64 people, crashed head-on with a coal truck in November. Another 42 children were injured.

The accident provoked criticism of school bus safety in China's rural areas, where children often have to travel long distances to get to school.

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